Welcome to my Blog!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by my Blog.

I created this Blog to give an overview of my career highlights and to reach out to like minded professionals as an opportunity to build and grow my network.  I discuss various topics of interest to me including but not limited to my current projects, my local community, small business in Ontario, sales & marketing, logistics, the environment, social media and more!

Please take the time to review my Portfolio, leave a comment or share a post.  I update my Blog regularly so please come back often!

Posted in Business, Manufacturing, Ontario, Personal, Professional, Quinte Area, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to TAG a business in a post using Facebook

We have recently started to use Facebook to promote our business and could use some advice please.

When we get new customers that have a FB Page we like to tag them in a post to thank them for their business as well give their business some recognition.

We have liked our customers pages through our BUSINESS PAGE not our personal accounts.

When we put up a post to thank our customers, FB will only allow us to take their business using our personal account. When tagging with our personal account the posts do NOT display on our homepage. They are listed in “Recent posts by others”.

We are wondering if we are doing something wrong or if there is a way around this?

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Why Direct Mail Is A Smart Choice For Any Business!

While it seems like both technology and business publications are constantly writing about the latest social media trends, direct mail isn’t a topic that’s known for making headlines. However, just because the press isn’t infatuated with direct mail doesn’t mean it’s not a valid marketing option. On the contrary, it’s a tried-and-true marketing tool that still works quite well.

Just how well does direct mail work? According to Direct Mail News, the average response rate for direct mail in 2012 was 4.4 percent. That number applied to both B2B and B2C mailings. To put it in perspective, email has a standard response rate of just 0.12 percent. If you’re wondering how it’s possible for direct mail to engage so many prospects, it’s because contrary to popular belief, people do still like receiving things in the mail. In fact, 73 percent of U.S. consumers said they prefer direct mail for brand communications because it’s more convenient.

As if the high response rate and receptiveness of consumers wasn’t enough, the icing on the cake is that direct mail is very cost-effective. According to statistics from the post referenced above, U.S. advertisers spend $167 per person on direct mail to earn $2,095 worth of goods sold. That translates to an ROI of 1,300 percent!

Since direct mail is engaging, well received and cost-effective, it’s a practice all businesses should try for themselves. But even once they get past all the common misconceptions and find out that this marketing channel actually does work, many businesses are at a loss for where to start. If that’s the position you’re in, the good news is we’re going to cover exactly what you need to do to get started:

Buy or Build a List
Before you can send anything out, you need to have a list of recipients. There are two basic options for obtaining a list. The first is to buy it from a broker. The main advantage of buying a list is you can get a targeted set of recipients fairly quickly. The main downside is it’s often challenging to find a reputable broker that can actually deliver the quality you expect.

Your other option is to build a list yourself. Although you may not think you have many people to reach out to, once you start compiling current and potential customers, friends, social media contacts and other possibly interested parties, you may have more than you expected. And once you make building a list a priority, you’ll likely find that you have lots of opportunities to add targeted contacts to it.

Come Up with the Right Message
When it comes to making your message as effective as possible, the most important thing to remember is to be clear. Avoid using overly complicated language or feeling the need to compose the equivalent of an essay. In fact, the more you can edit for clarity and conciseness, the better results you will generate.
Other tips for crafting a great message include speaking directly to the recipients, giving them an incentive to take action and telling them more than once exactly what you want them to do. Taking that approach will give you the best chance of grabbing their attention, raising their interest and, ultimately, getting them to take action.

Choose the Right Mailing Option
After you have your message, you need to decide on what you’re going to print it. If you want to save money on postage, avoid spending time folding and stuffing envelopes; utilize an attractive design and even help the environment by using less paper with postcards. What’s great about choosing postcards is not only will you reap all those benefits, but it’s quite easy to place an order online through a postcard printing company for exactly what you want.

Send, Measure, and Adjust
Once you have your postcards, it’s time to send them out. Based on the response you receive, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to accurately pinpoint what worked great and what didn’t go as well as expected. Based on that information, you can make the necessary targeting and messaging adjustments for your next mailing.
Now that you know why your business should try direct mail, as well as the steps you need to take to make that happen, all that’s left is to add the steps to your to-do list and start completing them!

 

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Don’t Sell Your Marketing Short: Create a Great Offer!

BAB_2014Mar27-Creating-a-Great-Direct-Mail-Offer_IMAGEThe offer. It’s the backbone of a good direct mail campaign, and it’s what your recipients are looking for in the direct mail you’re sending them. That being said, creating that “great offer” may be easier said than done.

We decided that we’d pull back the direct mail marketing curtain and reveal some of our insider knowledge about what will make consumers redeem your offer over the competition’s. Implement these secret tips-of-the-trade for dynamite direct mailers that are sure to grow your business.

Make your offer appropriate
When deciding on your offer, keep your audience in mind. Make sure that your offer is appropriate for your target demographic by featuring your primary, or most popular, product or service. It should also only require a purchase amount that is at or below the typical ticket average for your customers.

Beyond your audience, your offer needs to be a fit for your business, as well, which means aligning with your industry. For example, some business offers work better as a % discount, like restaurants, while others have better redemption with a $ amount reduced, like comedy clubs or other entertainment venues.

Clearly state the value
What will your offer do for your customers? Approach your value proposition with a goal of telling a story. Think about how customers will benefit from saving money on your product, and what effect that could have on their life. When you tell the story, steer clear of clever, cute or corny, and instead, use persuasive language that portrays the value in a crystal clear manner. Also, make sure you put those savings into context of the original price. You can’t assume the recipient knows the regular listed price.

Place the offer in a prominent position
No matter how good the offer is, you want to make sure it is the feature of your direct mail piece. Give your special offers the front row seat. Typically, this position is located on the front side in the top section of your layout or even the top right hand corner. A prominent position means your offer will stand out starting at the moment the recipient looks at the direct mailer.

Include supporting offers to encourage repeat visits
When you craft your direct mail campaign, consider adding multiple offers to one mailer. After featuring your primary offer in the prominent position, add a supporting offer or two that encourages repeat visits after your customer redeems the main offer. This becomes even more important if your main offer is for a free product or service.

Always make sure you’re pouring time and effort into crafting that great offer. After all, the type of offer you use, and how it’s presented, helps create consumer acceptance and trust. That means new and loyal customers coming to your business over the competition.

Link to original article.

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10 Direct Mail Secrets from the Pros!

For the past decade, many business owners have regarded direct mail as the ugly stepsister of print or broadcast advertising. Loud, misleading and cluttered pieces mailed anonymously to millions of prospects only served to reinforce this perception.

Today, however, some of the most innovative and effective advertising is delivered through the mail, and more and more business owners are finding the rewards of direct mail are great if their campaigns are designed with a discerning eye and a realistic strategy in mind. Looking for some tips to help you create a direct mail campaign that brings in results without breaking the bank? Here are 10 smart tactics, culled from my 15 years as a direct mail professional:

1. Develop a visual sense for what works and what doesn’t. You have an abundance of learning materials right inside your mailbox. The next time you go through your mail, take a minute to examine what’s there, what catches your attention, what attracts you and what repels you. Do you have examples of previous campaigns you’ve sent out? Or pieces from your competitors that you can learn from? “Junk mail” has a unique style–learn to recognize it and think about how you can create the opposite.

2. Don’t insult your prospects’ intelligence by using cheesy tag lines or see-and-say visuals. Believe it or not, “FREE MONEY” doesn’t attract much attention in the inundated world of today’s consumers. So avoid using bold with italics, ALL CAPS, and multiple exclamation points (!!!!), as these are the clich�d visual cues of junk mail.

And try to be innovative in what you do show. Make a point of avoiding see-and-say graphics, which are too elementary to involve and activate the brain of a potential customer. For instance, let’s say you were sending out a postcard for your lawn-care service that reads “Lawn-Mowing Service” and the photo or illustration depicts a company employee mowing a lawn. (See: picture of employee mowing lawn. Say: “Lawn-Mowing Service.”) Boring! Instead, be more creative.

The key here is to entice your audience to complete a story in their minds of how your product or service solves a problem they have. In the example above, you might show the uniformed employee mowing the lawn but have the caption read “Honey, did you mow the lawn today?” “Yeah, it’s a tough job, but someone had to do it.” That way, the audience has to figure out the picture. They might complete the riddle like this: “Why is this guy taking credit for mowing the lawn? Because he hired this lawn-mowing service and got the job done. Maybe I could relegate my lawn-mowing responsibility like this guy did.” Involving your audience lengthens the time they take to look at your mail piece and improves the odds they’ll take in the information they need to make a decision for your business. Humor can also play a great part in these visual stories.

3. Don’t assume your audience knows everything. An educated consumer is one that’s more willing to make a purchase. Your headline should draw attention to your body copy, which is your most powerful selling tool. Ignore what people say about how no one reads anymore–if compelled by a good headline and provoking imagery, a potential customer will want more information immediately. Directing them to a website or phone number is asking a lot of your audience, so instead, include essential information right on the mail piece. When writing copy, start from the beginning, be direct, and include as much information as you can in five sentences or less. Chances are, the reader is scanning, so use words that are easy to understand but are descriptive enough to accurately communicate your message.

4. Use what you know. If you know your customers inside and out, by all means, use that information in your mail piece. Meeting your potential customers where they are is a great way to attain trust quickly. Become familiar with your market so you can be specific about your mailing list. Consider demographics like gender, age, income, climate, leisure activities and more when deciding where to mail each piece. The more you use information that’s been hard-earned in years past, the better your response rates will be.

5. “You Won’t Believe This Amazing Offer!” At least that part’s true, when it comes to your prospects–people are much more skeptical these days. So do something completely unusual with your direct mail piece: Tell the truth. Exposing your weaknesses make your strengths seem even greater, and (yes, believe it) creates a sense of honesty and trust. Consider this example: A flooring company boasts “the best styles at the best prices.” While the claim sounds attractive, it doesn’t have the same believability (thus response-eliciting) factor as a piece that claims “the same styles at the best prices.” Creating a trustworthy message allows consumers to set positive expectations, rather than refuting any false ones they might be reading. And when potential customers set expectations, you can bet they’re ready to take a risk on your business.

6. Ask and you shall receive. Know exactly what action you want your mail piece to elicit, and then ask for it. Then ask again. This is known as the call-to-action in the world of direct mail, and it’s the consumers’ cue for getting what they want. If there’s no call-to-action, your direct mail piece is just creating brand recognition. Is there a number to call? Don’t just list the number–ask them to make the call. Is there a website to visit? A response mail required? Ask, suggest and entice your audience to respond to your piece. Make the information accessible, easy to read and effective–which may mean making some changes in the office, whether that’s a designated phone line or a more memorable web address.

7. Consider the medium. What will your message be delivered on? Postcards are an effective medium for most products, because they cut down a barrier (the envelope) between the consumer and the message. However, some direct mail is more appropriate when crafted as a letter, especially those that involve high-dollar sales and financial services.

Think carefully about your product and your message before making a decision about the medium. No matter what format you choose, consider the paper your message will be printed on. Inexpensive paper communicates something very different from high-quality paper. If you’re selling anything that’s considered expensive, high-quality or custom, nice paper will communicate that message much more effectively than something inexpensive. On the other hand, the type of paper you choose makes little difference when you’re selling items that are inexpensive, sold at bulk rates or discounted. Deciding what’s best for your direct mail piece will improve your response rates exponentially.

8. Use color wisely. Color will always catch more attention than black and white, but when it comes to color, more is not necessarily better. Additional colors may cost more money to produce–and too many colors can create a piece that’s confusing and cluttered–so it’s important to find what’s best for your project.

Begin by choosing one or two main colors and one or two supporting colors based on the feelings they elicit: Warm colors are exciting and energizing; cool colors are relaxing and refreshing. Bright colors speak loudly; dull colors suggest quietly. Think about your product, corporate image and your audience when choosing color. Metallic colors are a great option for one- or two-color jobs.

And check with your printer to see what’s available that might make your piece stand out for a small–or no–increase in price. Consider colored paper, as well as using a color as a field (covering a large shape area) and reversing out the text (that means showing white text on a colored background). These techniques will help you make the most of your budget and color choices for maximum impact.

9. Personalize your pieces. You’ve seen them: “[your name here], you’ve got to check out this deal!” Personalization can enhance a consumer’s inclination to read your direct mail piece by creating a sense of familiarity. It also emphasizes their importance to your business. For example, are you more likely to open an envelope that says “Current Resident” or “[Your Name]“? Most likely, you’ll feel important to the second business and choose to open that mail first.

When it comes to personalizing a direct mail piece, there are a lot of options, ranging from addressing it to a specific consumer or including their name in the letter portion to printing their name in the art area on the actual postcard or letter. Some of these options can get pricey, so if you think it’s appropriate for your mailer, talk with your printer about your personalization options so you’ll know what options fit your budget.

10. Determine the best way to mail it. When it comes to mailing your direct mail pieces, you have options regarding the postage you purchase. Think about your customers and the value of your product, as well as time sensitivity. Will “presort” (formerly bulk rate) arrive in time? Do your potential customers care about first-class postage or not? Are you eligible to receive special, not-for-profit postage rates? And don’t forget to consider the type of postage for your direct mail piece. You can choose to use first-class or presort stamps, or you can print the first-class or presort postage directly on the mail pieces (this is known as the indicia). In pieces that are highly personalized and official-looking, a stamp can enhance response rates because consumers infer a human touch. On postcards, indicias work just as well as stamps and don’t cost anything to apply to the mail piece.

Link to original article.

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Direct Mail – Cost Effective Advertising that works!

About The Money Saver
The Money Saver is a direct partner with DRMG (Direct Response Media Group) which is Canada Post’s largest customer sending out over 150 Million direct mail pieces in 2013.  We can assist with direct mail in our staple envelope piece.  In addition we offer individualized direct mail programs both addresses and un-addressed.

The advantages of The Money Saver and our staple direct mail envelop piece is that encompasses a little bit of most every form of advertising into one.  Our envelope product is a great way to help advertise your new business, promote a new product and is a great compliment to almost marketing campaign.  It is also very cost effective.

Contact me for more information paul@thesaver.ca.

The Envelope – Our envelope is mailed using Canada Post.  This ensures great area coverage and high delivery accuracy.  The envelope is also mailed out at the beginning of the week ahead of the weekly mail schedule to ensure high viability.

Envelope Layout-page-001

Your Flyer – Your flyer is 5.25″ * 8.25″ full colour and 2 sided.  This allows you lots of room to promote your business, products and promotions.  It also allows you to be more creative being a part of your own design.

Bayview Auto Flyer-page-001

Distribution Area – Our zones are usually grouped in 5-10,000 homes allowing you to directly target the areas to which you believe  choice which ar

QUINTE and NORTHUMBERLAND MAP 2014 version-page-001

Bi-monthly - Our product is sent out on a bi-monthly basis.  We see this as 2 advantages: #1 for our readers in that it gives them time to use the coupon #2 It’s a minimal expense for our customers

Pricing – Our pricing is very competitive.  Our pricing breakdown works like this:

0 – 5,000 Homes
5 – 45,000 Homes
50,000 + Homes

We also offer discount pricing for committing to more than 3 issues or more.

Here are a few examples of the types of other advertising sources that are available and a brief explanation of how we compare.

Newspaper
Affordable newspaper ads are often smaller in nature and sporadically placed throughout the paper and cannot guarantee even if your prime buyer reads the paper they’ll see your ad.  Different towns/ cities have different papers and distribution areas also something to take into consideration.

Print Ads
Print ads such as magazine advertising often requires a large budget and reaches a larger target market.  Phone directories are very expensive and often take a second place to a quick search on Google this day in age.  These are also a yearly commitment.

Flyers
Flyers are cost effective and are essential for your business although having flyers is only half the battle.  Distributing your flyers to your target market is the larger issue and how can you do this cost effectively with time efficiency?

Radio
Radio ads are often the most expensive form of advertising.  The key is reaching your target market and which radio station does that the best and whats the cost?  At times, it can also be difficult to fully advertise your business or offering in the time

Internet
Internet advertising in on the rise and often a great choice depending on your type of business.  The question is which platform best reaches your target market?  What’s the initially investment versus your expected ROI.  If you are going to do your own internet advertising you must consider how effective your skills really are in addition the time it takes out of your work day to implement your plan.

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Marketing With Print Is Greener Than You Think

When companies start making changes towards a more eco-friendly business environment, paper is often one of the first things to go. When you think about printing on paper products, your mind might conjure up images of a devastated, clearcut forest. But the print industry is much greener than you think—and it is helping to prevent deforestation.
As I’ve said before, print marketing is far from dead. And while it’s still an effective way to attract a wider range of customers, it also helps preserve the environment. Print marketing collateral is sustainable, recyclable, low on carbon emissions, and high on impressions.

Here’s a look at the benefits of print marketing:

Print grows trees
More than half of the forests in the United States—or 55 million acres—are owned by private landowners, most of whom make a living off the land that they own. When private forestland is used in the production of paper, the landowner has an incentive to keep growing more trees and replenishing whatever was cut down. In fact, in many cases, more trees are planted than are harvested, often in areas where there were no trees before.

Without the print industry, many private forest owners could not turn a profit on their land as is and they would be forced to sell it to outside developers or to clear it away for other agricultural purposes. Moreover, planting trees reduces stormwater runoff, improves water quality, and helps lower carbon emissions—but the same can’t be said for livestock and cash crops. Think of it this way: Print marketing is more eco-friendly than eating a hamburger.

Print is recyclable
People are getting so good about recycling paper that 65.1% of all paper products are now recycled. However, that only accounts for the post-consumer waste; many printers also recycle the scrap paper leftover from a print job into biofuel. In fact, paper used for printing in the US is composed of over 60% biofuels, which create a lower carbon footprint by requiring fewer fossil fuels and reduce waste.

Print is non-toxic
Many printers use soy-based ink, not only because it’s non-toxic and low on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which harm the environment, but also because soy-based ink produces a richer black tone than other inks. Printers are also likely to use water-based coatings and laminates, so you can have nice, glossy marketing media—without all the harsh toxins—that makes a tactical impression on your audience.

If recipients do throw away your collateral instead of recycling, no volatile chemicals are present to seep into the ground water, and everything will naturally biodegrade over time. Some eco-friendly products can even be composted and used to fertilize a home garden.

Print has low carbon emissions
The problem with going paperless is that electronic marketing requires the use of an electronic device. Because most electricity comes from sources like fossil fuels or coal, every impression you make with electronic marketing requires carbon output. That is why online ads actually have a larger carbon footprint than print ads.

Meanwhile, the most carbon output required for print is in the initial printing process, and much of that is created with recycled biofuel. Print’s carbon footprint is made even smaller by the fact that print grows trees, which helps to offset the carbon output of the printing process.

Print lasts longer
Ever held onto a piece of print media because you liked the design, or because it was so well made you couldn’t bear to part with it? People often cherish a creative print design—and the longer its lifespan, the more impressions it can make. That means a lower impact on the environment per each impression.

There’s also a good chance your print design could be reused in some way. Old presentation folders can be useful to have around the house for organizing paper materials, while mailers might be reused in craft projects such as scrapbooking.

Don’t be afraid of print; it can ultimately benefit both your brand and the environment. However, you should still take the right steps to ensure your final product is as green as can be. Talk to your printer to see what your most eco-friendly options are, and encourage your customer base to recycle their discarded print media.

Link to original article.

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8 Reasons Mail Succeeds in a Digital Age

I suppose information on why mail is still a relevant medium from the POST OFFICE is much like information from Dairy Farmer’s on the nutritional benefit’s of milk in that the cream will always rise to the top – oops punny! Have you ever seen a bad stat from the USPS on mail? – I haven’t. But maybe, just MAYBE that is because direct mail really is the viable marketing channel we keep saying it is.

I am sharing this information for the Print & Marketing people who are reading this to pass it along to your clients and such who have either reduced their volume or jumped on the email express and dumped DM from their budgets. I pulled out the 8 reasons, but there is information that accompanies each you can see by clicking the link below.

1. Mail Is Tangible / 2. Mail Integrates Well / 3. People Like Opening Mail / 4. There’s Less Competition in Direct Mail / 5. Mail Builds Loyalty / 6. Mail Is More Sophisticated Now / 7. Mail Helps You Target / 8. Mail Delivers Results

One or more of those should make a compelling argument not to disregard this marketing channel, should the need for a compelling argument arise!

Staying Power of Mail: 8 Reasons Mail Succeeds in a Digital Age

by Allan Nahajewski

…A recent study by ExactTarget, an international company that specializes in interactive marketing, helps illustrate direct mail’s continued relevance. The survey asked consumers to indicate how they would like to receive 11 different types of messages. A headline in ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey screams the results: “DIRECT MAIL LIVES!”

Survey Echoes Recent Research

The ExactTarget study gathered detailed input from 1,481 consumers of all ages on how they prefer to receive various types of information. The choices:

• E-mail • Direct mail • Telephone • Text messaging • Mobile app • Social media

Out of 11 different categories of marketing messages, direct mail was chosen as the most acceptable means of communication in four categories, tied with e-mail as most acceptable in two others, and came in a close second behind e-mail in another four categories.

According to the survey, 65 percent of consumers have made a purchase as a result of a direct mail piece. The survey report provided the following analysis: “In the face of always-on channels like e-mail, SMS and social networks, consumers appreciate direct mail’s tangibility, flexibility and once-a-day pace. It also remains the only channel where unsolicited messages are acceptable to a majority of consumers.”

Link to original article

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Direct Mail Advertising using Canada Post – January Specials

For the month of January 2014 we are offering some incredible deals for launching your own Direct Mail Campaign.  Our services are offered in most built up areas throughout Ontario.

Buy a 15,000 home direct mail campaign and receive an additional 10,000 homes FREE   (1 Time)

or

Buy 3 issues and receive the third issue 50% OFF (6 months)

Rates starting at $0.05 – $0.03 per home

Pricing includes design, printing and postage/ distribution.

We can also do Solo direct mail campaigns for as low as $0.18 per home or business.

Contact me for more information paul@thesaver.ca

Posted in Business, Marketing, Ontario, Small Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Direct Mail Advertising using Canada Post – January Specials

direct mail

Buy a 15,000 home campaign and receive an additional 10,000 homes FREE (1 Time)

or

Buy 3 issues and receive the third issue 50% OFF (6 months)

Rates starting at $0.05 – $0.03 per home

Pricing includes design, printing and postage/ distribution.

We can also do solo direct mail campaigns for as low as $0.18 per home or business.

Contact me for more information paul@thesaver.ca

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

11 EXPERT TIPS TO HELP YOU BE MORE PRODUCTIVE IN 2014

Last year I used a kitchen timer to force myself to focus; I blocked the Internet and email so I couldn’t get distracted; I set an auto-response on my email; I wrote a lot of to-do lists. I even started getting up earlier.

As you can see, I’m kind of obsessed with productivity. Which makes this the perfect place to be because our experts and journalists are constantly coming up with new methods to hack the conventional ways of working.

But trying to wade through so much coverage of how to do things more efficiently can get in the way of actually getting things done. So in the interest of saving you time, we’ve asked some of the most super-productive people with whom we work to share how they manage to accomplish so much:

FOCUS ON ONE BIG TASK AT A TIME
“It’s all too easy to get distracted by ‘work’ that takes up a lot of time and energy but isn’t ultimately changing your trajectory,” says David Rusenko, CEO of Weebly. “We see this all the time–entrepreneurs focus on the minutiae instead of just getting started, and getting something out there.”

ORGANIZE YOUR DAY INTO TIME BLOCKS
Some people are early risers, some are night owls, while others hit their stride mid-day. Ekaterina Walter, CMO at Branderati, and author of Think Like Zuck, advises to figure out when during the day you are most productive then establish blocks of time get more focused work done. “You can even set a recurring email going out to people telling them not to expect an immediate reply to their emails during those times,” she says.

DO THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO DO
“Remember this sentence, tape it to your monitor, tattoo it on your wrist: You don’t have to ‘feel like’ doing something in order to do it,” says Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking.

“When I manage to remember that, I’m no longer sidetracked by trying to get into the right frame of mind for daunting projects. Don’t beat yourself up for procrastinatory feelings. Just feel them, and simultaneously direct your limbs to do the work.”

DON’T GET PARALYZED BY PERFECTION
“A career contribution isn’t made in a single ideal moment,” says psychologist and author Art Markman. “It is a collection of good and great moments that add up over time.”

The best project is a completed project he says. “It’s easy to get paralyzed by perfection, but it’s better to get something out the door than to hold onto it for a long time hoping to remove every flaw.”

STAY IN THE MOMENT
If you feel overwhelmed (like pretty much everyone), it might not be because you have so much to do, but rather that you are trying to do too much at the same time, says Douglas Merrill founder of ZestFinance (formerly VP of Engineering at Google).

“If you’re talking to your daughter, talk to her; don’t think about email. You can’t do two things at once–it’s physically impossible for your brain to multi-task,” he says. “Even if you don’t lower your workload, doing one thing at a time will help you do better and, equally importantly, feel better.”

PUT YOUR BRAIN ON AUTOPILOT FOR THE SMALL STUFF
Some super productive people don’t waste their time on the small daily decisions that take up much of our brain space. Prerna Gupta, chief product officer of social music app Smule says she’s able to tackle big picture problems by eating the exact same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. She calls it “reducing decision fatigue.”

WRITE AN OLD-FASHIONED TO-DO LIST
Sometimes the simplest methods are the best. “Every day, I write down the various tasks I want to accomplish and check them off as I go through them and complete them,” said Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School, and author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed and How We Can Stick to the Plan.

“Seeing the progress makes me feel good and, research says, more productive. It also helps me be a bit more realistic in understanding what I can accomplish every day, and which tasks are top priority,” she says.

GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
“The promises we make to ourselves are easy to break,” says Laura Vanderkam, frequent contributor and author What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. “It’s much harder to call a friend on Friday and inform her that ‘I failed.’” She set up weekly check-ins and which kept her motivated to complete the first draft of a novel in 2013.

DON’T CHECK FACEBOOK
Drake Baer spent most of 2013 writing about productivity, and when he needed a break he says the thing that kept him going wasn’t checking social media or email. Instead, he says he goes for a walk, gets a snack to stave off hunger, or sneaks into a conference room for a brief bit of meditation.

DEAL WITH IT ONLY ONCE
Leo Widrich cofounder of social media sharing app Buffer, says Zen Habits’ author Leo Babauta taught him the following productivity tip that has transformed the way he works:

“Deal with something only once. Do it now. Then it’s off your mind, and you can fully focus on the next matter.”

He says the “deal with it only once” policy works for three of the most nagging aspects of everyone’s day: email, meetings, and requests for help. Answer all as soon as they come up and get them out of the way.

ESCAPE INTO SINGLE-TASKING
Author and entrepreneur Faisal Hoque has mastered the art of doing one thing at a time. In fact he’s so good at “single-tasking,” that he can lose himself mundane task like vacuuming and help ground his focus for his work. “Being in the moment allows us to escape from adversity, conserve our inner energy, and be more consciously productive,” he says.

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